Delta to serve Mumbai nonstop from the U.S. in 2019

Just last week, we wrote about the speculation that Delta will be launching direct flights to India, and today came the confirmation.

In a press release issued by Delta, they have signaled their intent to serve Mumbai nonstop from the USA in 2019. I will knock off the political gibberish to give you the crux of the presser.

Delta Air Lines will begin nonstop flights between the United States and Mumbai, India, next year, linking the U.S. with one of its strongest trading partners.

The service is subject to government approval; full schedule details will be announced later this year.

Delta also intends to expand its existing codeshare relationship with partner Jet Airways to provide seamless connections to other destinations within India, subject to government approvals.

While it is still not clear about which city will Delta fly into Mumbai from, it could be from Atlanta or New York. New York already has a couple of non-stop flights to Mumbai, operated by United and Air India. Air India operates from Newark & New York JFK both using a 777, with the JFK flight hopping via Delhi.

Delta Mumbai nonstop

Both Atlanta and New York are possible with the Boeing 777-200LR or the Airbus A350-900 for Delta. And not just that, Delta could pull a rabbit out of the hat and also perhaps do an LAX-BOM flight as well. However, given Delta’s biggest hub is in Atlanta, I’d guess that is the most significant probability for the airline.

Delta inherited the route from Northwest and used to fly to Mumbai through 2016, via Amsterdam. They closed this route blaming the middle east carriers for making it uncompetitive for them. Recently with their close cooperation with Jet Airways, this new route might become a possibility for the airline going forward, with 9W supplying traffic into the Mumbai hub.

However, the other part of the story they miss out on conveniently is the fact that now they have a product which will perhaps be half as competitive as compared to the ME3 and all the other airlines who want to get traffic to India via their hubs in the Middle East or Europe and so on.

For years, Jet Airways was my preferred carrier to take me to JFK, and I am also hopeful that if this route works out, perhaps Jet Airways would start a flight as well to the USA with their densified Boeing 777 aircraft without the first class seats.

What do you think about the new route announcement from Delta? Would you fly them on this route?

About Ajay

Ajay Awtaney is the Founder and Editor of Live From A Lounge (LFAL), a pioneering digital platform renowned for publishing news and views about aviation, hotels, passenger experience, loyalty programs, travel trends and frequent travel tips for the Global Indian. He is considered the Indian authority on business travel, luxury travel, frequent flyer miles, loyalty credit cards and travel for Indians around the globe. Ajay is a frequent contributor and commentator on the media as well, including ET Now, BBC, CNBC TV18, NDTV, Conde Nast Traveller and many other outlets.

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  1. Actually Detroit is thier Transact-pacific hub however I don’t see it happening for the following reasons-

    -Geographocally it will entail backtracking for all East Coast connections meaning a huge chunk of traffic is lost.

    -Lack of point to point traffic combined with the extended flying time would make it unviable.

    -Delta already offers many options for connecting traffic through its European hubs.


  2. The press release makes them sound so pathetic and whiny. I fly from NYC to Mumbai a few times a year and will keep flying Qatar.

  3. I would think most it will most likely be JFK or LAX as an outside chance. LAX would work better from Delhi so it is most likely to be JFK.

    Delta would be looking to have significant point to point traffic on a non-stop route from India given that they can offer a plethora of one stop connections from Amsterdam, Paris or even London. There simply would be no value add offering connections from Atlanta given the hassles of transiting at US airports.

    JFK itself offers more then enough connections across the Delta network so they will still have onward connectivity at both ends.

    Its important to consider that Delta will be a formidable player on a JFK ROUTE inspite of other players. The routing options they can offer via their JVs in Europe and partnership with 9w to different cities in India are simply unparalled. United and Air India will be challenged to match this.

    In terms of product I believe Delta will offer one of the best products to the US on it’s A350 in all cabins at least in terms of hard product with delta suites in biz, 18 inch wide seats in economy and a pretty competitive premium economy option (the only option on a non-stop to NYC). It’s safe to say that the hard product is way more competitive then any ME3, European or Indian carrier in any cabin save for Q suites on Qatar Airways.

    Delta has a fairly solid soft product in economy and business that is relatively fuss free. I believe it again beats European and Indian carriers (9w included) and is perhaps a notch below carriers. Considering all of the above, I don’t see this being an issue at all.

  4. I think it should be one of the New York city airports connecting into bombay

    Yes Etihad and Emirates offer better service and we can’t even get into the Q suite service from Qatar (exclusively a business class perspective here,) but a direct connection that is not air India / united is welcome here.

    Hey if it honours my platinum status – even better.
    Why won’t jet start this on their own planes if their partners think it’s a worthy route?
    On that note – I know Ajay has confirmed it’s a NO but as a paying passenger I would seriously appreciate a damn alliance partnership. Seriously Gaurang, pick an alliance and for god’s sake make the partner airlines redemption option accessible online.

  5. This is a surprising development. Bets from Delta insiders suggested a return of ATL-DXB–lots of US government/military contractors. Although, this could return as well.

    ATL-India in aggregate is actually a very small market. Last I remember, ATL was dead last in the top 10 US markets to India. DTW-India is even smaller. Not even on the top 10 list. ATL would also entail a longer flight duration and greater fuel burn.

    JFK has the local corporate traffic, plus leisure traffic, plus some connectivity.

    But Delta being Delta it could still be Atlanta because of the connections.

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